• Purple, yellow, gold and orange sponges and soft corals wave against a turquioise sea.

    Biscayne

    National Park Florida

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Janeen Mason's "Drawn to the Sea" Exhibit opens in Park Gallery

Drawing of colorful reef fish from Janenn Mason's book "Ocean Commotion: Life on the Reef."
Detail from "Ocean Commotion: Life on the Reef" (Copyright: Janeen Mason)
Janeen Mason

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News Release Date: May 31, 2011
Contact: Gary Bremen, 305-230-1144, x007

Janeen Mason writes and illustrates award-winning children’s picture books, including Ocean Commotion: Life on the Reef and Ocean Commotion: Sea Turtles! Original art from her many books forms the core of a new exhibit in Biscayne National Park’s Dante Fascell Visitor Center Gallery. Drawn to the Sea opens on Friday, June 10 and runs through Sunday, September 11, with two “Meet the Artist” opportunities: a reception with refreshments, a silent auction, readings and book signings from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, June 12, and children’s art activities, readings and book signings coinciding with the park’s celebration of the National Park Service’s 95th birthday from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, August 21. The Gallery, located at 9700 SW 328 Street, near Homestead, Florida, is open seven days a week from 9-5. Admission is free.

"Children's picture books are a primary source of inspiration which have enormous consequence in our culture,” says Mason. “They provide the introduction to a lifetime of creative imagination and appreciation for the arts. This is powerful juju in a landscape of ever accelerating technology."

Mason’s books have won numerous awards, including the Ben Franklin Award (silver), the U.S. Maritime Literature Award (gold), the Moonbeam Children's Book Award (gold), the Mom's Choice Award, the iParenting Award. Mason has received a Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from the Arts Council of Stuart and Martin County. Her large scale fine art hangs in the collections of Burt Reynolds, Reba McEntire, Evan Lloyd and S. Kent Rockwell. Ms. Mason was recently featured with the MacArthur Award Winner, Dr. Edith Widder, on NOVA Science Now.

Mason is active in the arts, recently finishing her second term as a member of the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, as the Vice Chairman. In April, She was appointed by Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning to the Board of Directors of Citizens for Florida Arts. Memberships include the Board of Directors for the Arts Council of Stuart and Martin County, the Board of Directors of The Friends of the Blake Library of Stuart, Inc., the International Reading Association, the Florida Reading Association, and the Children's Book Council. As the Illustrator Coordinator for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators in Florida for five years, she created and produced annual "Illustrator Intensives" for nationally known contemporary children's book illustrators working as guest instructors in small workshops.

Drawn to the Sea is part of the park’s Community Artists Program, started in 1997 as an outlet for the works of both established and emerging artists who are inspired by the beauty of Biscayne National Park. The program is made possible by the South Florida National Parks Trust through the generosity of Sedano’s Supermarkets and the Miami-Dade County Division of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

For more details about the exhibit, visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/bisc or contact park ranger Gary Bremen at 305-230-1144, x007. For regular updates from the park, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BiscayneNPS.

Did You Know?

sea squirts on a mangrove root

Tunicates, or sea squirts, live on the roots of the red mangrove tree. These simple animals survive by filtering plankton out of seawater, and hold promise as the source of potent drugs used to fight tumors. Watch for them when snorkeling along Biscayne National Park's mangrove-fringed shoreline.